When Sandman Hotel Group’s in-house team was tasked with designing a bold, luxurious hotel and spa in a former university building in the centre of Aberdeen they knew that the key would be to create an elegantly relaxed space inspired by the surrounding landscapes.
A quiet haven in the heart of the ‘Granite City’ attracting both leisure and business guests as well as local residents, the Sandman Signature Hotel Spa has been given a contemporary Scottish feel that reflects the spectacular local countryside as well as the architecture of the historic city. Although part of a global chain of hotels, the group’s interior designer, Lorna Gillespie, wanted guests to know they were in Scotland rather than in a generic metropolitan hotel so throughout the hotel and spa the interior design includes elements drawn from the natural beauty of the Scotland countryside such as living walls and colours inspired by the gorse and heather hills.
The Signature Spa offers an oasis where guests can take time out from the increasingly hectic pace of life and recharge. The design aims to help guests feel refreshed by supporting a sense of wellbeing and features a calming colour scheme, biophilic elements, flexible lighting and a close attention to the impact of sound.
Extending the hotel’s contemporary Scottish style into the Signature Spa, Lorna has created a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere with a natural colour scheme in earthy tones of grey and brown, a clever mix of dimmable ambient and bright task lighting and a timeless warm oak design flooring.
Lorna explained: “Our goal is for each guest to leave the Signature Spa feeling revitalised and full of vigour and this is achieved with an exceptional treatment list but also through a subconscious emotional response to their surroundings. Using neutral tones, textures, comforting textiles and natural elements we have created a serene environment where guests can unwind. Bringing natural elements into a spa can be challenging but we knew it was necessary to achieve the look we wanted so we added a foliage wall to the reception area.
“In a hygienic environment such as a treatment room where there is not a lot of scope for soft furnishings and bolder colours seem inappropriate, I felt it was important to add warmth wherever I could. The rich mix of warm tones in the Van Gogh Classic Oak flooring allowed me to introduce warmth in a slightly unconventional manner whilst making the flooring a feature of the space.
“We selected Karndean flooring for a variety of reasons, the prevailing being that when working in a spa environment warmth and cleanliness are vital however the two don’t easily go together. Karndean offered us the chance to have a realistic looking, low maintenance, hygienic and quiet timber effect flooring.
“We knew we wanted a seamless transition between all the spaces and therefore opted to use the same flooring throughout. However, without thresholds or transition strips there was a lot of sound transfer via the gap between the doors and the floor. To overcome this we installed inset acoustic bars to the underside of our doors to get a better seal so now our guests can relax, forget the outside world and reflect in a warm, safe and peaceful environment.”